Why Do Cats Bury Their Poop?

Cats do some weird things, from peeing on your sofa, and coughing up hairballs to sucking on blankets. One habit you’ve noticed your cat has picked up lately is burying her poop. Now, you’re wondering: Why do cats bury their poop? Is it normal cat behavior to cover up their feces, or should you be concerned? You hope this isn’t some sort of medical issue.

Learn some of the reasons why indoor cats engage in this strange behavior, and then make sure you call your veterinarian if you think there is a larger medical problem at play.

They’re Hiding From Predators

first time cat owner tips cat in litter box

Some wild cats, the ancestors of domestic cats, would hide their excrement in the wild. They did this so they would not draw the attention of larger predators, like big cats, since these animals communicate through scent markers called pheromones. Cat poop may smell the same to you, but cats can tell the difference because of pheromones. Burying poop is an instinctual behavior that cats also learn from their mothers. Even if a house cat is safe in her cat owner’s home, she may bury her poop anyway because it’s ingrained in her to do so. It’s only natural. 

Interestingly, big cats like jaguars, leopards, and tigers do not cover their poop in the wild. This is because they want to mark their territory and claim a certain area as their own. It’s a method for keeping other cats away.

They’re Showing They Aren’t a Threat 

Another reason why your feline friend may be burying their poop in their litter box or in the yard is that they want to show other cats in the area that they aren’t threatening. It’s another way to protect themselves out there in the wild. 

They’re Trying to Rid of Disease

If you find buried poop in your cat’s litter box, then she could be doing it for health reasons. Perhaps she is trying to decrease her chances of having parasites. Or, she may just want a cleaner litter box. 

They’re Dealing With a Medical Issue

cat at the vet

Your cat may (or may not) be burying her poop because she is dealing with a medical problem. She may have a urinary tract infection, for instance, and burying her poop could be too painful for her to do. She might want to get out of the litter box as fast as possible. 

Is Burying Poop Normal?

how to train a kitten to use a litter box

If your cat has always buried her poop, then she is likely just tapping into her natural instincts and trying to cover her tracks, like her wild ancestors used to do. But if she’s recently started doing it, or she stopped doing this feline behavior, then you could be dealing with a bigger issue at hand. She may have a medical problem. Or, she could be stressed if you got a new cat in the house. She could be trying to be the dominant cat. If you brought someone new into your household or there have been any other changes, those could lead to behavioral issues.

The first step to take if there’s been a change in your cat’s toileting habits is to talk to your vet. If your cat is healthy physically, then she may be having some mental issues like anxiety or stress. Here are some ways of dealing with those issues.

Give Your Cat Her Own Space

cat in hut bed

Make sure your feline friend has a space of her own, whether that’s a private room or a space in the corner of a shared room. You should put her litter box, food and water bowls, bed, toys, scratching post, and any other belongings in that area. Then, she’ll always have a sanctuary to come back to at the end of the day.

In terms of her litter box, either get a self-cleaning one that works well or scoop it daily if you use a clumping litter. Doing a thorough cleaning once per month is recommended as well. If you have a multi-cat household, then cleaning the litter box every two to three weeks is better.

You can find a calming cat bed for your cat like the Calming Oval Cat Bed Pad. It simulates the feeling of comfort and security kittens get from their mother cat. On this bed, the raised rim offers head and neck support, while the filling offers joint and muscle pain relief, which is especially important for older cats. If you have a multi-cat household, get a bed for every cat so that they don’t have to share. 

Offer Toys to Your Cat

woman with cat. are cats colorblind

Cats need stimulation. If they have toys, they can get their energy out and feel less stressed at the same time. Plus, if you play with your cat, you will be able to bond. She’ll feel more secure knowing that she has you.

The Straw-Babies Cat Dental Catnip Toy is sure to get your cat excited and energized. It comes in a three-pack and contains catnip and crinkle. These will keep your cat engaged in play and activate her natural hunting instincts. Plus, the multiple textures will help floss your cat’s teeth to keep them clean. This toy is the ideal shape and size for your cat to bat, carry, and chase – all things they like to do naturally. 

Pay Attention to Your Cat

why is my cat peeing everywhere

If your cat is meowing at you, rubbing up against you, or frequently jumping on your lap, she wants your attention. Perhaps she wants to cuddle or play with you.

Spending enough time with her and giving her the attention she craves is going to calm her down and make her feel safer in her environment. Additionally, you can make the environment better by not playing loud sounds or making too many changes to your house at once. Your cat could become overwhelmed by all this new stimulation and revert back to some strange behaviors.

Protecting Your Cat’s Health 

If you want to protect your cat’s health and well-being, pay attention to her behaviors. Whether she’s started covering her poop or stopped doing it, you should talk to your vet and figure out solutions moving forward. You will be sure to keep your cat healthy and comfortable this way.